If you’ve never been to a music festival and have only seen the “cookie-cutter” stock images of music festivals like Coachella, then Electric Zoo is a completely different experience. EZOO is an EDM (electronic dance music) festival that takes place in New York. With way more glitter than most people have ever seen, iconic neon attire and more remixes and beats than imaginable, EZOO is quite the unique experience. This year, like the past 10 years, the festival found its home at Randall’s Island Park, a stretch of land located between Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens. Saturday, August 31st had quite the line up of talented performers.
Starting the day at the Mainstage, located in the far most left-hand side of the festival, KREAM was first to hit the stage. With people starting to find their way into the venue, KREAM definitely attracted many festival-goers with their beautiful visual displays and their remixes of current songs by artists like Billie Eilish. Getting the day started with KREAM was a great way to set the tone for the rest of the festival. With beat drops that got the audience jumping, there was something for everyone to like. KREAM even performed some new music that debuted at EZOO. People were dancing, and having a good time as their day was just beginning.
Next, there was German DJ and composer, Ben Bohmer. While not at the Mainstage, and under the more secluded, yet very popular Hilltop Arena, there was not a lack of people. There were many fans gathered in the shaded tent area to listen to the more chill and low key sort of beats that Ben Bohmer was dropping. That’s the thing about EDM, while it might sound the same to some, it’s actually all very different. You can get a ton of different vibes from EDM. The type of music that Ben Bohmer was playing definitely sounded like music you’d listen to if you were just hanging out with friends. There were fans that were actually sitting and enjoying the music while nodding their heads along to the beats. The cool thing about Ben Bohmer’s style is that it all sounded like original mixes and less like recognizable songs. You can tell he’s a composer as well as a skilled performer.
Fast forward a little bit throughout the day and EZOO is popping. There are people everywhere, way beyond the few that were trickling in around 1 pm. By 4 pm, there were lines at all the tents and merch stands and mobs of people by each stage. Everywhere you looked, there were people dancing and having a good time.
Back at the Mainstage, Italian DJ and mixer Benny Benassi was the next artist to hit the stage. The crowd here was younger and the vibe seemed stronger. Everyone was into the heavy bass and deep drops. There was a wide age range of people, probably averaging in the mid-twenties. This was the first of many huge crowds that gathered at the Mainstage. With smooth transitions to different beats, Benny Benassi also had some remixes in his set. Keeping it current with Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” and classic with Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall,” Benny Benassi had the crowd ready and his style was fast and effective. The fans knew his remixes by heart.
Next to hit the Mainstage was the musical duo of Tritonal. Tritonal was very lively and energetic. By now, some EDM fans had been at the festival for four hours and Tritonal gave them a second wind of energy. Keeping the fans dancing, Tritonal knew how to capture the attention of the audience. The bass was so heavy, fans could feel it in their bones. The transitions between beats and remixes were solid and seamless. The colorful neon visuals were a good match and vibe to go with the golden hour sunset that was just beginning to fall. There were people on others shoulders and as the set came to an end, there were still people dancing and ready for more.
Following Tritonal at the Mainstage arena was Diesel B2B Borgore. Keeping it classic with their repetitive EDM sounds, the two DJs had a very experimental kind of feel to their music. Keeping up with the previous performers, Diesel B2B Borgore also had heavy-hitting bass. The two remixes that really got the crowd on their feet were “Every Time We Touch” by Cascada, and “Low” by Flo Rida. They knew how to get the crowd pumped for those performers that were yet to come. Their set had colorful cartoon visuals as well as some visuals with a more mechanical feel. The use of fire as a visual was effective and got the crowd excited.
Taking a small switch in the schedule, Zedd was the next performer in line at the Mainstage. Zedd took the stage before Afrojack (when originally it was the other way around in the line up). From the very beginning of Zedd’s set, people were on their feet dancing and vibing to his beats and familiar songs and remixes. At this point, the crowd of people was so large that people were packed tightly together in their groups and dancing was actually a challenge in the lawn space. Every set was a banger and it was like the crowd showed up particularly for Zedd. Rounding out the set with the hits “Stay The Night” and “Clarity,” there were a few fireworks that lit up the sky when the beats dropped. Zedd definitely had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Repeating the lyrics back to him, Zedd was definitely a fan favorite and people were left with massive amounts of energy from his lively stage presence and exciting music.
Following Zedd was sure to be no easy task, but Afrojack proved to keep the party and energy just as high as Zedd. Afrojack kept the party energy going with remixes of classic songs like “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes, “Sweet But Psycho” by Ava Max, “Rockstar“ by Post Malone and “Wake Me Up” and “Hey Brother,” both by Avicii. Afrojack talked to the crowd and thanked EZOO for having him back. It was definitely easy to tell Afrojack was a seasoned performer. With spot-on visuals and lasers, fans were surely not disappointed in his bass crushing set and exciting remixes.
And last but most definitely not least in the line up at the Mainstage was the English musical group of Above & Beyond. Some fans have been here since 1 pm and it’s now 9:30 pm, but this group was highly talked about all day. It was an easy transition from Zedd, to Afrojack, to Above & Beyond since the fans were already pumped and on their feet. They could have kept going all night with the solid visuals and perfectly timed beat drops right from the beginning of their set, all the way to the end of their set. A perfect way to end the day, fans were definitely not disappointed by the epic set. Above & Beyond, went above and beyond, and their fans knew it!
Overall, Saturday at EZOO had a chill and laid back vibe. While talking to a few of the festival-goers, many people told me they had to really be dedicated to the type of music to want to stay as long as they were staying. Describing EDM as “house music,” some of these EZOO fans have been into EDM for a very long time. EZOO was a lively experience of fun, glitter, and heavy bass drops for fans of all kinds.
File Photo: Marv Watson